Raphiolepsis, the Indian Hawthorn, is a handsome, hardy, evergreen shrub suitable for hot or cold, windy, coastal sites, sandy soils and droughty positions. They thrive in semi shade or full sun.
Best performance comes in enriched, well drained soils with extra summer water. The white or pink flower clusters are followed by blue/black berries all winter. Excellent as a hedge or feature landscape shrub.
Retama is best described by it's common name: White Weeping Broom. It is almost leafless with fragrant white flowers covering the stems all winter and spring. This hardy, fast growing shrub is easily grown in hot and cold sites in full or part sun. Prefers well drained soil, even gravel or sand.
Rhodanthe (row-dan'-thee) is also known as Helipterum in the old botanical classifications or commonly as Swan River Everlasting. This Western Australian annual enjoys a warm, sunny, open spot and sandy, lighter soils. The plants quickly produce 30cm stems topped with papery pink, white, red and purple daisies that dry superbly, lasting for years. Easily grown from seed which should be started now.
Rhodohypoxis is a dwarf member of the amaryllis family which it doesn't resemble in the least. This is a tiny tuberous rooted perennial from the mountains of South Africa.
Silky leaves create grass-like tufts covered in spring and summer with small pink, white or red blooms that smother the plant.
This groundcover is sometimes mistaken for phlox subalta which mats the ground with colour. The secret to success is perfect drainage, especially in winter! Prefers an acid soil and full sun. Good in shallow containers.
Romneya, the Fried Egg Flower, is seldom seen in Auckland but is a superb Southern California native that grows well here. The deeply cut, grey-green foliage somewhat resembles a giant maiden hair fern. But this plant reaches 2m with giant 23cm
(9 inch) blooms of crepe white with a fluffy yellow centre. These fragrant poppy-like flowers appear over a long period and are excellent for cutting. Easily grown in dry, loose, gravelly soil or on sunny clay banks with perfect drainage!
Ricinus, the Castor Oil plant, is a towering annual that can easily reach 4m in a single season. While quickly killed by frost, the plants can become shrubby perennials in the frost free garden. The dramatic, hand-like leaves are deep russet to port wine red and often reach 1m across.
Flowers aren't as noticeable as the red fruits in large clusters which produce large seeds from which we derive castor oil. Makes a great screen at the back of the border or in the larger garden. Russelia, or Fountain Flower, is a Central American plant often mistaken for a broom which it's sparse foliage and arching, wiry stems closely resemble. The surprise comes when this 1m shrub becomes covered in firecracker blooms from spring to autumn. Well draining soil and strong sunshine are essential. Prune back sharply in winter to maintain a graceful habit. Don't forget the Rosemary for that dry, sunny spot!